A judge today agreed to set a higher-than-normal bail for the man accused of planning to shoot up the Long Beach Marriott where he worked.
Rudolfo Montoya, 37, appeared in court Thursday for the first time since police arrested him earlier this week after allegedly finding a stash of high-powered guns, tactical gear and hundreds of rounds of ammunition at his Huntington Beach home.
At the hearing, Montoya pleaded not guilty to four felonies: possession of an assault weapon, intimidating a witness and two counts of criminal threats.
Those charges would have a maximum penalty of less than six years in prison if Montoya is convicted, and they don’t normally carry $500,000 bail, but prosecutors asked Superior Court Judge Tomson T. Ong for that amount because of the seriousness of the threat Montoya is accused of making.
“I believe that the defendant had the motive, means, and intention to carry out a mass shooting of employees and guests at the Long Beach Marriott Hotel,” they wrote in a bail motion.
They said investigators found “numerous firearms” including an AR-15 assault rifle in the RV where Montoya lived. They also said they feared Montoya would try to flee to Mexico if he were to be released, according to the motion.
In court, Montoya was helped by a Spanish-language interpreter. He wore a black T-shirt with his hands cuffed as he responded to the judge’s procedural questions.
Montoya’s public defender asked if there was any chance Ong would reduce the bail, but the judge said that wouldn’t happen based on what prosecutors claimed Montoya was planning.
Montoya worked as a cook at the Marriott hotel at 4700 Airport Plaza Drive in Long Beach.
At a press conference Wednesday, police said they believe a mass shooting was narrowly averted when Montoya’s co-workers turned him in.
On Monday, he told a colleague how he planned to shoot employees and guests at the hotel, according to authorities, who said he was angry over a human resources issue.
Hotel staff told police about the alleged threat, and officers arrested Montoya the next day.
When they searched his home, they found the guns and other equipment he needed to carry out the plan he’d described, according to Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna.
Luna said the plot was stopped because hotel employees spoke up.
“Sir, you saved many lives,” Luna said to the hotel’s manager, Imran Ahmed, at the press conference, “not only of your employees but any customers that may have been at the Marriott when this guy decided to show up and carry out his threat.”
Ahmed said Montoya was a reliable worker but somewhat unapproachable.
“He wasn’t a model employee, but he never called out,” he said.
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